“Words fail us: Priests respond to the new Missal a year later”

[Added: 11/16/2012]

Scott Alessi


The new missal has made priests watch their language, but after one year most say the meaning of the Mass is getting lost in translation.

There was plenty of chatter in the pews when the new Roman Missal landed in parishes last November, as Catholics fretted about the at times awkward or confusing responses that would replace their old familiar prayers. But the challenges parishioners faced in adapting to the new translations were nothing compared to what was in store for the men on the other side of the altar.

And judging by their responses to a U.S. Catholic reader survey on the new missal, priests are still struggling with the changes one year later. “I still find it very difficult to say the prayers and, because of the stumbling, Mass is less prayerful,” says Father Adrian Fischer of Monroe, Louisiana. “I would go back to the other translation in a minute.”

Fischer is not alone. His feelings are shared by many of the more than 1,200 priests who responded to our survey, designed specifically to gauge how the clergy have handled the transition. Most seemed to relish the opportunity to speak openly—or in some cases, vent their frustration—about the new translations, though nearly half requested that they remain anonymous in doing so. More than a handful even said they would fear for their jobs if their name were to be printed alongside their true feelings on the missal.

“Most priests have just obeyed and did not say what they really thought since they were never consulted beforehand,” says Holy Cross Father Thomas Shea. He touches on a complaint identified by numerous respondents: the fact that priests and the laity weren’t asked for their opinion at any point in the process. “No one asked the presbyterate’s input on the new translations,” says Father Jerome Katz of Syracuse, New York. “Once again decisions came from the top down—no dialogue, no conversation.”


This is an excerpt of an article from U.S. Catholic.  Click here to read the entire article.